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Catholic Dictionary




A pure, created spirit, called angel because some angels are sent by God as messengers to humans. An angel is a pure spirit because he has no body and does not depend for his existence or activity on matter. The Bible tells us that the angels constitute a vast multitude, beyond human reckoning. They differ in perfection of nature and grace. Each is an individual person. According to Christian tradition, they form three major categories in descending order. The word "angel" is the special name for the choir of angelic spirits, from whom guardian angels are sent to minster to human needs. The existence of angels has been twice defined by the Church: at the Fourth Lateran Council (Denzinger 800) and the First Vatican Council (Denzinger 3002). (Etym. Latin angelus, an angel; Greek angelos, messenger.)